Selection headache for Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino, as injuries mount up before opening day
PUBLISHED: 08:31 10 August 2017 | UPDATED: 08:31 10 August 2017
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Premier League runners-up may be without several key players at Newcastle United, but Massimiliano Allegri feels they can challenge for title again
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has some big decisions to make ahead of Sunday’s Premier League opener at Newcastle United.
First-choice right-back Kieran Trippier suffered an ankle injury during last weekend’s friendly with Juventus and may miss the match at St James’ Park.
In addition to his absence, Spurs are likely to be without Heung-min Son, at least from the off, so a space in the three behind Harry Kane is up for grabs.
Trippier is the initial worry, however, with the England international suffering a blow to his ankle on Saturday evening and leaving Wembley on crutches and in a protective boot.
Although the ex-Burnley defender is not set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines, he may now be ruled out of the Newcastle trip.
Pochettino confirmed at the weekend that Kyle Walker-Peters wasn’t ready just yet, so Eric Dier is expected to deputise at right-back if Trippier isn’t available.
It means Tottenham will have to make a change in midfield and find somebody to partner Mousa Dembele.
Victor Wanyama has recently been out with a knee injury, so Harry Winks could get the nod against the Magpies if the Kenyan international doesn’t recover in time.
The selection of Moussa Sissoko from the start during the 2-0 win over Juventus was a surprise, but the winger did well on the right.
It now seems the French international has a very good chance of playing behind Kane at Newcastle this weekend.
Sissoko joined Tottenham from the Magpies, so can expect a hostile reception at St James’ Park, although it may act as extra motivation for the winger.
Turkish outfit Trabzonspor are understood to be interesting in securing his services, but for the time being he remains at Spurs.
Pochettino will definitely be without Danny Rose (knee) and Erik Lamela (hip) on Sunday and for the foreseeable future, but will seek some revenge this weekend.
Spurs lost 5-1 at Newcastle on the final day of the 2015/16 season and this will be their first match with the Magpies since.
Payback would be sweet for Tottenham and would show straight away that they are not set for a decline.
Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri praised Spurs ahead of the start of the campaign and backed them to compete for the title again.
He said: “I think Tottenham are an excellent side and they showed that last season in the Premier League.
“They are capable of winning the title and we could even meet them in the Champions League group stage.”
First things first, Pochettino will be focusing on how Spurs can start successful at St James’ Park and win their opening league game for the first time in three years.